Become a Precinct Chair!

 

What is a Precinct Chair?

Precinct Chairs are the backbone of every county including our own Calhoun County Democratic Party.

 

A Precinct Chair is the local representative of the Democratic Party and its candidates in their voting precinct. A precinct is a small, grassroots level area of voters, generally bound by one or a few neighborhoods. Each of Calhoun's County's 11 voting precincts can have its own Precinct Chair.

 

Any registered voter that lives in the precinct with some time, energy, and commitment to helping elect Democrats to office can seek to become Precinct Chair. A person can be elected in the Democratic Primary, or chosen to fill an open spot by appointment of the county chair.

 

The position of Precinct Chair is a Democratic Party office, elected every two years in Democratic Primary elections. Each Precinct Chair represents the voting precinct in which he/she lives, and in our county serves on the Calhoun County Democratic Party (CCDP) County Executive Committee (CEC). A precinct with no precinct chair is referred to as a “vacant” precinct. Before and after primary elections, County parties may appoint precinct chairs to serve in vacant precincts.

Precinct Chairs must: 

  • be 18 or older

  • be a registered voter

  • reside in that precinct

  • have voted in the most recent Democratic primary election or sign an oath of affiliation to the Democratic Party.

  • Precinct Chairs can’t be elected officials or candidates for county, state or federal office.

See more about the rules that govern Democratic Precinct Chairs in the Texas Democratic Party rules.   

As a Democratic Precinct Chair, you should be willing and able to:

  • Attend CCDP CEC meetings as a voting member.

  • Contact Democrats who live in your precinct, and remind them to vote in EVERY election.

  • Support Democratic candidates/officeholders on your precinct’s ballot.

  • Not openly endorse candidates/officeholders from any other political party.

As a Democratic Precinct Chair, you will be given priority if you wish to serve as an Election Judge at your polling location. However, Precinct Chairs are not required to be Election Judges.

What does a Precinct Chair do?

The primary job of a Precinct Chair is to support the Democratic Party and ticket by turning out the Democratic vote in their precinct.

Do Precinct Chairs really help win elections?

Yes! Active Precinct Chairs can make an enormous difference. When you look at the election returns you can tell which precincts have active Chairs, by comparing them to ones next door with similar demographics, but don't turn out as well.

Is it fun?

Yes, if you are open, honest, and positive about the difference that you are making for your community. Many voters who are or would be Democrats have never had another Democratic neighbor knock on their door or call them to ask for their votes, and are excited to be contacted. Those who are Republicans or uninterested you can simply cross off your list and not bother with again. Very few are actually rude, and you’ll meet many interesting people, make new friends out of voters, and fellow precinct chairs.

How does a Precinct Chair increase the Democratic vote?

Precinct Chairs have a number of resources available from the Calhoun County Democratic Party. We will provide training, lists of likely Democrats in your neighborhood, and digital resources to organize. During our Coordinated Campaigns, the CCDP also provides literature, yard signs, and other tools to help you get out the vote. With these tools, Precinct Chairs can identify other Democrats in their precinct who may be interested in helping or have questions about voting. This is the core of grassroots politics; neighbors talking to neighbors and engaging with them on voting in every election.

What else does a Precinct Chair get to do?

Precinct Chairs are also members of the County Executive Committee of the Calhoun County Democratic Party. The Executive Committee meets every quarter to get a review of the party activities and fill vacant Precinct Chair positions. There are also various councils and committees that Precinct Chairs and Organizers can serve on. In rare occasions, Precinct Chairs will vote to replace nominees on the ballot. 

Candidates for public office, in the Primary or the General election, or even in non-partisan elections such as city councils and school boards, may ask Precinct Chairs for their support and endorsement. Precinct Chairs are bound to support the Democratic nominees, but free to endorse, as individuals, in the Democrat Primary, or any candidate in non-partisan elections, but they are not required. The endorsement and support of very active Precinct Chairs can greatly help a candidate.

Are Precinct Chairs the Election Judges in their voting precinct?

It is highly encouraged, but not required to be. Many Precinct Chairs do serve as the Election Judge as an opportunity to meet other Democratic neighbors and voters, some are unable to serve for a variety of reasons, but help recruit someone to work. 

It is important to have good Democratic Election Judges (or Alternate Judges, in a Republican precinct). The Democratic Party may ask a Precinct Chair if they wish to be the Election Judge, or if they know someone else who would be interested if they do not, but there is no automatic appointment of Precinct Chairs to be Election Judges or Alternates. A Precinct Chair that does not serve as Election Judge does not get to pick the Election Judge for their precinct; the Election Judges are nominated by the Party and subject to approval by the County Commissioner's Court, as required by state law.

How can I help or become a Precinct Chair?

The poet John Donne famously said "No man is an island." This is especially true when it comes to political activism. First, check if your voting precinct has a Chair by scrolling down to your precinct number below. If you're unsure of your voting precinct, you can look it up here.

 

Next, contact your Precinct Chair at the contact information or the Calhoun County Democratic Party at (361) 238-0335. 

If your precinct does not currently have a Precinct Chair, you can apply to be one by submitting this application. The CCDP County Chair may appoint persons to fill vacancies. Those appointments must then be approved by the Executive Committee at their quarterly meeting.

If your precinct does have a current precinct chair and you want to become the chair, you must file to be on the primary ballot. The voters in the Democratic Primary elect Precinct Chairs for a two year term, which starts after the Primary Runoff in even years.

You may place your name on the ballot for Precinct Chair in the next Democratic Primary by submitting the official state filing form. The filing form may be downloaded and printed from the Secretary of State's Election Division. Be sure to insert the word "Precinct" before "Chair", and, of course, "Democratic" before "Primary". The window to file is open every odd year September through December.

What should I expect after submitting my application for appointment? 

After your application is received and reviewed, you will be contacted to CCDP staff and given more details about the next CEC meeting. After the CEC approves your appointment you will receive a welcome packet. You can find more resources online in our Precinct Chair Toolbox.

While waiting for the next CEC meeting, appointed precinct chairs may perform only non-statutory duties (most duties are non-statutory). The first thing any new Precinct Chair or Organizer should do is schedule a training, read our manual, and meet other Precinct Chairs in your area who will have a wide range of experience and ideas on getting started. 

Precinct Chair Positions — Applications for a Place on the Ballot

All current precinct chairs or anyone who would like to become a precinct chair must file an “Application for a Place on the General Primary Ballot for a Precinct or County Chair” between January 15, 2022, and 6:00 pm on February 12, 2022.

Therefore, please follow these steps to complete and submit your application:

  1. Check whether your voter registration is current and whether your precinct number has changed. Because of redistricting, the boundaries of some precincts have changed, so your precinct number may have changed, too. You can see your current precinct number on your voter registration card, which you can find by clicking here

  2. Complete the “Application for a Place on the General Primary Ballot for a Precinct or County Chair." You can find it by clicking here.

  3. Have your application notarized.

    1. You can use any notary public to do this.

  4. Email your completed, notarized application to: brandelynw.pact@gmail.com.

    1. If you prefer to drop off your application you’ll need to make an appointment by calling (361) 238-0335.

Will you join us?